Skeena Middle School students across all grade levels walked out of their classrooms at 11:11 a.m. on May 1, 2019. They gathered at Coast Mountains School District 82’s head office on Kenney St. to protest against staffing changes announced by the district last week. (Brittany Gervais/The Terrace Standard)

‘Save our principals’: Terrace students walk out to protest staffing changes

This would affect several schools in the district, with two principals assuming teaching positions

About 50 students across all grade levels walked out of Skeena Middle School Wednesday in protest of staffing changes announced by the school district last week.

In a news release, Coast Mountains School District 82 said current Skeena Middle School principal Phillip Barron and vice-principal Cory Killoran would be leaving their administrative positions for teaching positions in September, meaning the school’s top leaders would be leaving.

The current principal at Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary School in Hazelton, Cindy Sousa, was appointed to be the middle school’s new principal.

READ MORE: School district briefs: Stewart protests possible budget cuts

The students walked out of their classes at 11:11 a.m. and gathered outside the Coast Mountains School District 82 head office on Kenney St., chanting “Save our principals!” in unison.

“It came out of nowhere,” says Grade 9 student Ryhan Nester.

Nester says students were upset when they were told Barron and Killoran would be taking teaching positions after refusing to relocate to administrative positions at a New Hazelton school. They were also told both Barron and Killoran would be teaching at Thornhill Elementary, not Skeena Middle School.

Upset at the changes, Nester says the students didn’t have anything organized but quickly gathered together, walked out of their classrooms, and headed toward the school district’s office.

“They’re not only good principals, but good people as well. They look after us like we’re family,” Nester says.

“Many of our teachers said we could do this, and that this is up to us. They can’t say anything because they could lose their jobs.”

“Students have voices too and we can fight for our rights,” added Grade 9 student Brianna Onstein.

READ MORE: School district scrambles to fill vacant teaching spots

The students were not only protesting changes to their school administration but changes to other schools in the district as well.

Suwilaawks Community School principal Pam Kawinksy will be assuming a teaching position, with current vice-principle Julia Jacobs stepping into the role to replace her.

The current vice-principal at Mount Elizabeth Middle/Secondary School in Kitimat, Christine Byrd, was appointed as the school’s new principal.

The changes have also left vacancies at the schools affected. CMSD82 is now conducting a Canada-wide search for a new principal for Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary School, and new vice-principals for Cassie Hall Elementary, Mount Elizabeth Secondary School and Skeena Middle School.

Missing from the school district’s news release is a reason indicating why these staffing changes are necessary.

“I’ve grown up with Mr. Barron and Mr. Killoran playing hockey with their kids, I’ve known them my whole life. They shouldn’t have to leave,” says another student.

Nester says the students plan to stay as “long as it takes” until the district gives them an explanation for the changes.

At the time of this posting interview requests with the school district have not been returned.

More to come.


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Son of slain former Hells Angel is one of two men sentenced for crime spree

Pair’s 2017 series of robberies included convenience store in Abbotsford

The Offspring and Sum 41 announce show in Abbotsford

Bands play Abbotsford Centre on Nov. 30 as part of Canadian leg of current tour

UFV men’s basketball hosting NCAA’s Roadrunners

Cascades challenging Cal State Bakersfield in exhibition game on Monday

New hospice programs aim eyed for at-home patients and caregivers

Abbotsford Hospice Society set to launch day program for people living at home with terminal illness

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in Manning Park backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

Mouse infestation hit Langley hospital’s kitchens

Droppings and urine were found by Fraser Health inspectors in the spring

‘Person of interest’ identified after suspicious meat left in North Delta park

Piles of meat have been dumped near the 63rd Avenue trail entrance four times in the last 30 days

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

B.C. mom mourns 14-year-old son whose fatal overdose was posted online

Chantell Griffiths misses the son she hadn’t seen much in recent years

Oppenheimer Park residents told to leave, clear out tents by Aug. 21

Police say park has seen influx of residents, violence in recent months

Most Read